Cards land commitment No. 8

Mario Benavides, a three-star offensive lineman from Los Fresnos, TX, has made it official for Louisville. Once an Ole Miss commit, the 6'4, 285 pound Benavides,'s No. 31 ranked offensive tackle nationally, has had a change of heart and will play for the Cardinals next season.

Louisville has just landed a big-time commitment from Mario Benavides,'s No. 31-rated offensive tackle prospect nationally.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Benavides, who hails from Los Fresnos, TX, verbally committed to Ole Miss during the summer but changed his mind after making an official visit to Louisville when the Cardinals hosted Syracuse two weeks ago. Benavides will graduate early from Los Fresnos high school and will enroll at U of L in January. Benavides will take part in spring drills.

"I told Coach Alford and Coach Kragthorpe that I want to go there and play at Louisville," Benavides told "I'm graduating in December and I'm going to have a head start on a lot of players. Obviously it's a huge advantage that I'm getting there early."

What prompted Benavides decision to back off his commitment to Ole Miss and commit to Louisville instead?

"I had visited Oxford and this whole recruiting thing is kind of new to me and when you only visit one place you have nothing to compare it to," Benavides said. "So I didn't know what else was out there. I realized when I went to Louisville that I just felt more comfortable with the people there and the players. Everything went well.

"Not to say that Ole Miss wasn't great and they weren't nice to me it's just kind of something I feel in my heart. I just felt more comfortable with Louisville. My dad came with me on my visit and he could tell that I was more excited when I came back from Louisville than I was from Mississippi."

Though Benavides plays right tackle in high school, the Louisville coaches, according to Benavides, think his best position will be either guard or center at the college level.

"I think because of my height I'm more suited to play center or guard," Benavides said. "I'll play where ever they need me to play. The bottom line is I want to play. I talked to Coach Myers the offensive line coach and I could be one of the backup centers or guards right when I get there and then work my way to the top."

Benavides is the eighth player to verbally commit to the Cardinals in the Class of 2008.

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